Five From My Playlist - 12/30/2005

Here's another five fabulous songs!

1) "Because of You" - Kelly Clarkson. The lyrics in this song are so beautifully moving.

2) "God on the Mountain" - Taranda Greene. Taranda does a great job with this gospel favorite.

3) "She Walks in Beauty" - Sissel. Incredible. That's all I can say.

4) "God of Wonder" - Third Day. This song has a powerful, uplifting message.

5) "Home" - Michael Bublé. Michael has a wonderfully old school swing voice. And this track is just fabulous.


Five From My Playlist - 12/26/2005

I am a music-aholic. I got an MP3 player for Christmas, and I am in paradise downloading music like crazy and copying over all my CDs. I decided to periodically post a list of 5 songs that I really enjoy, so that I can share my findings. So here goes...

1) "Remember When It Rained" - Josh Groban. Oh how I love this song. It gives me chills every time I hear it, especially the piano spotlight towards the end.

2) "Alpha and Omega" - The Gaither Vocal Band. I could listen to David Phelps sing anything. His descant part in this song is awesome.

3) "The Prettiest Flowers" - Sonya Isaacs. Sonya's strong soprano makes this hauntingly beautiful song especially moving.

4) "Habanera" - Charlotte Church. Love this song, and this is a spectacular arrangement of it.

5) "Your Song" - Ewan McGregor. I like Elton John's original version, but there is something about this one from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack that I particularly love. Maybe it's the orchestra and fabulous backup singing.


Goodbye, House!

We closed on our house in Harrisburg today. We are one step closer to being able to build our dream home!


Site Spotlight: San Diego Zoo Pandas!

Want to see a baby giant panda? The San Diego Zoo Panda Cam shows real time video of baby Su Lin (left), and the other pandas too. The zoo's panda team also keeps a blog tracking the cub's milestones and providing other interesting information about these endangered creatures.

The zoo also provides cams for their polar bear, ape and elephant exhibits.


Love Worth Finding

Acclaimed pastor and teacher, Adrian Rogers passed away yesterday after battling cancer and pneumonia. Dr. Rogers was the founder of Love Worth Finding Ministries, and the inspiration messages of his radio and television ministry touched many lives. His messages were filled with hope and a passion for sharing the love of Jesus.

While reading information about Dr. Rogers after I heard about his passing, I came across a quote of his from an address to young pastors, commenting on the lack of passion that some Christians have, that brought a smile to my face: "I wonder if sometime we don't need to eavesdrop on Hell and hear one demon say to another demon, 'If those Christians really ever let Jesus Christ out of that grave, Hell help us, all Heaven will break loose!'"



An Irishman, a Mexican and a Blonde Guy were doing construction work onscaffolding on the 20th floor of a building.

They were eating lunch and the Irishman said, "Corned beef and cabbage! If I get corned beef and cabbage one moretime for lunch, I'm going to jump off this building."

The Mexican opened his lunch box and exclaimed, "Burritos again! If I get burritos one more time I'm going to jump off, too."

The blonde opened his lunch and said, Bologna again! If I get a bologna sandwich one more time, I'm jumping too."

The next day, the Irishman opened his lunch box, saw corned beef and cabbage and jumped to his death.

The Mexican opened his lunch, saw a burrito, and jumped, too.

The blonde guy opened his lunch, saw the bologna and jumped to his death as well.

At the funeral, the Irishman's wife was weeping. She said, "If I'd known how really tired he was of corned beef and cabbage, I never would have given it to him again!"

The Mexican's wife also wept and said, "I could have given him tacos or enchiladas! I didn't realize he hated burritos so much."

Everyone turned and stared at the blonde's wife. The blonde's wife said, "Don't look at me. He makes his own lunch."


Live Longer - Pray!

A recent study conducted by Duke University studied 4,000 older adults from rural North Carolina. Study results show that private prayer and Bible study contribute to people living longer and healthier lives. The study shows that prayer lowers stress levels.

In other related studies, Bible study and church attendence can lower the risk of diastolic hypertension by 40 percent. Also, elderly heart patients who rely on faith were 14 times less likely to die after surgery.

Here's the full article:


Christian Prices?

Why is that you have to pay around $17.99 for a Christian music CD at a Christian bookstore? Why is it that even at your local discount store a Christian music CD cost $2-$3 more than a secular music cd? What about $29.99 for a Christian music DVD verses $20.oo for secular?

Music can often speak to the soul in a way that nothing else can. Shouldn't it be readily available at a more comparable price? After all, we cannot put a price on spreading the gospel!


Beware of Scientology

An evil space alien brought billions of people from different planets and blew them up, brainwashing them and leaving them to float around on earth, including in our heads? Give me a break. Unfortunately, this isn't just a bad plot from a movie that bombed out at the box office. Thousands of poor misled people actually believe this is the truth.

They are part of a cult called Scientology, a mysterious "religion" (meaning they get tax-free status) who has been promoted heavily this year with the help of a certain actor who just cannot seem to draw enough attention to himself.

For more information, check out this site:


Things to Ponder

  • Just remember - if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.
  • Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money inbinoculars to look at things on the ground?
  • Why is it that you can't read a Bible in school, but you can in prison?
  • Can you cry under water?
  • How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?
  • If money doesn't grow in trees then why do banks have branches?
  • Since bread is square, then why is sandwich meat round?
  • Why do you have to "put your two cents in"...but it's only a "penny for your thoughts?" Where's that extra penny going to?
  • Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
  • What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
  • Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?
  • If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?
  • If you drink Pepsi at work in the Coke factory, will they fire you?
  • Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?
  • Why do we choose from just two people for President and fifty for Miss America?
  • ?Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.
  • If a 911 operator has a heart attack, whom does he/she call?
  • Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out!" Or watch a white thing come out a chicken behind and think, "that ought to taste good."
  • Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?
  • When your photo is taken for your driver's license, why do they tell you to smile? If you are stopped buy the police and asked for you license, are you going to be smiling?
  • If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?
  • Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane?
  • If the professor on Gilligan's island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?
  • Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!
  • If Wyle E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME equipment, why didn't he just buy dinner?
  • If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?
  • If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?
  • Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride; he sticks his head out the window?


Dolphins Rescued!

Out of the many heartbreaking stories that have been published about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, every once in a while you find one that gives hope.

Trainers feared the worst for these six intelligent creatures when their home was destroyed. Miraculously, the dolphins were found in the gulf and have now been rescued.

For some reason, I have been captivated by the rescue of these dolphins. I guess it is because when you hear so many stories of tragedy, it warms your heart to be reminded that miracles happen in the midst of turmoil.

Here's the news story: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9343538/


Another Blow to Computer World

As if Microsoft wasn't enough of a monopoly already, a report released today announces plans of Time Warner to sell AOL off to the technology giant. Personally, I have never been a fan of AOL, but it is worrysome to see yet another competitor bite the dust.


Battle Over Freedom of Speech

A San Francisco judge proclaimed today that recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional, potentially spinning the case back up to the attention of the Supreme Court. How sad that we cannot teach children the values that our forefathers found so important. How sad that we cannot teach children the importance of reverence for our nation and its flag.

As a Christian, it's easy for me to say that I don't see a problem with seeing or hearing the words "under God". If one chooses to reject God and this line offends them, they can simply close their mouth in silence instead of speaking it.

I hear things all day long that offend me - language that people use sometimes, sexist or racist comments, ridiculous news items (like this one) that drag our government's attention away from where it should be, etc, etc, etc. Just because I'm personally offended doesn't mean that the offenders are not entitled to their freedom of speech. I can choose whether or not I want to listen or participate.

We cannot please everyone. It just can't happen. If people stopped worrying so much about listening for something to be offended by, there would be much less anger in the world. If everyone in the world were to take responsibility for their own words, actions and deeds we would all be better off.

Anyway, back to the phrase "under God". It could be a lot worse. God's message is all about love. A nation under God is one protected by His love. A nation under God is a grouping of people who live in respect for one another. A nation under God shows respect to our heritage and learns from mistakes made in our history. No, it's not a perfect nation. That cannot exist. It is a nation who strives to do right. I wish these things could be said of our nation.


Site Spotlight: c h r o m a s i a

If you are interested into photography, I just wanted to share this site. David J. Nightingale displays a beautiful new picture from his collection each day:

c h r o m a s i a


Brain Teasers

Here are a few stories to make you feel like a genius:

I went to McDonald's. I looked at the menu and saw that you could have an order of 6, 9 or 12 Chicken McNuggets. I asked for a half-dozen nuggets. "We don't have a half-dozen nuggets," said the teenager at the counter. "You don't?" I replied. "We only have six, nine, or twelve," was the reply. "So I can't order a half-dozen nuggets but I can order six?" "That's right." So I shook my head and ordered six McNuggets.


I recently saw a distraught young lady weeping beside her car. "Do you need some help?" I asked. She replied, "I knew I should have replaced the battery to this remote door un-locker. Now I can't get into my car. Do you think they (pointing to a distant convenient store) would have a battery to fit this?" "Hmmm, I don't know. Do you have an alarm too?" I asked. "No, just this remote thingy," she answered, handing it and the car keys to me. As I took the key and manually unlocked the door, I replied, "Why don't you drive over there and check about the batteries; it's a long walk."


Several years ago, we had an intern who was none too swift. One day he was typing and turned to a secretary and said, "I'm almost out of typing paper. What do I do?" "Just use copier machine paper," the secretary told him. With that, the intern took his last remaining blank piece of paper, put it on the photocopier and proceeded to make five "blank" copies.


On Gas Station Sign: Coke -- 49 cents. Two for a dollar.


My neighbor works in the operations department in the central office of a large bank. Employees in the field call him when they have problems with their computers. One night he got a call from a woman in one of the branch banks who had this question: "I've got smoke coming from the back of my terminal. Do you guys have a fire downtown?"


I was sitting in my science class, when the teacher commented that the next day would be the shortest day of the year. My lab partner became visibly excited, cheering and clapping. I explained to her that the amount of daylight changes, not the actual amount of time. Needless to say, she was very disappointed


Police in Radnor, Pennsylvania, interrogated a suspect by placing a metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires to a photocopy machine. The message "He's lying" was placed in the copier, and police pressed the copy button each time they thought the suspect wasn't telling the truth. Believing the "lie detector" was working, the suspect confessed.


I was signing the receipt for my credit card purchase when the clerk noticed that I had never signed my name on the back of the credit card. She informed me that she could not complete the transaction unless the card was signed. When I asked why, she explained that it was necessary to compare the signature on the credit card with the signature I just signed on the receipt. So I signed the credit card in front of her. She carefully compared that signature to the one I signed on the receipt. As luck would have it, they matched.


Fight at the Pump

Over the last week, our bank accounts have all been hit one place that we can't get away from - the gas pump. In my hometown, prices jumped almost $1 in some locations. So what does the goverment do? Blame it all on Katrina. Is Katrina to blame? Well, I could see that if it was a slight increase. But $1? How much of it has to do with Labor Day travels? Who knows. This might cause people everywhere to unite to complain to the feds. Here's the article on MSNBC. Let's don't just accept the high prices and move on.

Other interesting facts about gas prices according to AAA...
  • In May 2005, you could have expected to pay $6.21 in Amsterdam, $5.43 in Paris and $4.61 in Tokyo for your gallon of gas.
  • The earlier figure in August for the US was $2.62. I've seen in the news that's around the current average, but since it's well over $3 everywhere around me I don't believe it. It's rare when gas prices in NC are so far above the national average.
  • Over in Kuwait City gas was $0.68 last month, and the lucky drivers in Caracas (the capital city of Venezuela for all of you who are rusty on your geography) paid a meager $0.12.


The Devastation Continues

Please pray for the people experiencing the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. It's amazing to witness the power of a hurricane and other natural disasters. Just when we think we can control nature, we are soberly reminded that things are beyond our control. The devastation is unreal, but God is still in control.


Church Signs

I've seen forwards go around many times with these, and I thought I would point out some of the best ones that I've seen.

  • Is prayer your steering wheel or your emergency brake?
  • Sign broken. Message inside this Sunday.
  • How will you spend eternity - Smoking or Non-smoking?
  • Come work for the Lord. Retirement benefits are out of this world.
  • Don't wait for a hearse to take you to church.
  • If you're headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns.
  • If you don't like the way you were born, try being born again.
  • This is a ch--ch. What's missing? U R!
  • Forbidden fruit creates many jams
  • Heat getting to you? Our church is prayer-conditioned.
  • In the dark? Follow the Son.
  • Don't bother counting sheep. Talk to the Shepherd.
  • Running low on faith? Stop in for a fill-up.
  • A family altar can alter a family.
  • Exercise daily. Walk with the Lord!
  • A lot of kneeling will keep you in good standing
  • Give Satan an inch and he'll be a ruler
  • God doesn't want shares of your life; He wants controlling interest!
  • If God is your Co-pilot, swap seats!
  • Read the Bible. It will scare the Hell out of you
  • Wal-Mart isn't the only saving place!
  • God answers "knee mail"
  • Trade God your pieces for His peace
  • It's hard to stumble when you're on your knees


It's Only a Visit

So many parents of our brave soldiers who have lost their lives in the war simply get ignored. California mother Cindy Sheehan found the national press. All she wants is a meeting. If Bush still backs the war and his decisions 100% as he says, then why is he so afraid to meet with a group of people requesting an hour of his time who just want to feel heard? Ms. Sheehan did not say that she would camp outside his ranch until he pulls our troops out of Iraq. She merely said she would be there during his vacation unless he met with her.

Neighbors are getting violent - taking shots, running over crosses. Now they are raising their voices to lawmakers, trying to force out the protestors. Citizens of Crawford, if you truly fear for the safety of the neighborhood children, why don't you ask your neighbor why he was shooting at the "doves" over a large mass of people? Why didn't you complain about someone who would run over crosses bearing the names of our nation's fallen heroes? Sadly, these slaps in the face of democracy are ignored because the traffic makes it hard for you to get around the town.

And Mr. President. A good percentage of Americans work hard and only receive 2 weeks of vacation a year. Some even less. Some, like yourself, are fortunate enough to have more. You have 5 weeks. Surely you can spare an hour. It's only a visit.



Site Spotlight: Google Maps

Have you ever seen the satellite picture of your hometown?

Check out Google Maps. You can search for locations and get directions just like other sites. But unlike other sites, the maps are draggable! Plus, you can see the satellite pictures!

For more information of all the neat features, take the tour.


Psalm 2 - The Breaking of Enemies

People have lost the fear of God. That's a scary thought.

According to Psalm 2:11, we are to "serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling." Instead, we ignore God. Then, when we are in trouble or face catastrophe, we go running back to Him. We spend time with Him when it is convenient for us.

Look at what has happened throughout history to the nations that have turned their back to God. The Bible tells us that the enemies of God will all be destroyed. Psalm 2 gives the details in verse 9:
"Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. "

Turning our nation into a nation that is an enemy of God is a grave mistake. However, as Christians, we have the power to change that. Consider Psalm 2:12b:
"Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. "


Psalm 1 - Portrait of a Christian

Have you ever observed someone who acts in an inappropriate way toward others? I came across one of these instances today. I was behind someone in a drive-thru who was yelling at the worker inside the restaurant. After quite a verbal battle, the lady inside handed the man his money back and he angrily drove away. With a fish sticker on the back of his car.

As a Christian, it is my duty to be a representation of the Christian faith in my daily life. This is the hardest task that a Christian must take. By the sticker on the car, this man (or at least the owner of the car) was also claiming to be a Christian.

Now, I have experienced poor customer service. Many times, in fact. Out of these experiences, there have been many times that I would love to just yell at someone to get my way. Observing this man made me take a look at myself. How many time do I react in anger? How many times do I drive agressively when I am trying to get somewhere on time? And how many times to those around me during these types of situations see the fish on my own car?

It is a long and difficult process to build a credible witness to others. However, it only takes a small word, expression or deed done without thinking to destroy that credibility. And yes, if people know that you are a Christian, you can rest assured that your actions are being watched.

Psalm 1:1-3 accutely describes the character of a Christian. We are to separate ourselves from sin, delight in the LORD and stand firm in our faith. So if we strive for this, what is the reward? See Psalm 1:6.


Stress Management

Is stress running your life? Consider the following:

  • Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
  • Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
  • Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
  • Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
  • If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  • It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
  • Never buy a car you can't push.
    Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
  • Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
  • Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
  • The second mouse gets the cheese.
  • When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
  • Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
  • You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
  • We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
  • A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
  • Don't take life too seriously; No one gets out alive.


Internet Pet Peeves

A little something I noticed:

When you go to CNN to search for a news article, type in your search criteria and click search. Oops. You aren't searching CNN, you are searching the entire web. Note to CNN. If I want to search for something on the web, I'm just as capable of typing www.google.com as I am www.cnn.com. In fact, going to Google is still much easier with my handy Google toolbar.

Upon further investigation, I found that MSNBC does this too!
Yes, they both allow you to search their site specifically. You have to select the radio button to do so.

Here's a newsflash for you. Save your users a click. Make your own site the default.


Gas Prices Skyrocket, but Thank Goodness We Get More Daylight

If you blinked, you may have missed this in the news. Our super-hard working government officials have rallied behind a new cause. That's right folks. We get two more months of extra daylight.

Why? Well, according to Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass, "It just makes everyone feel sunnier". Oh, and "Kids across the nation will soon rejoice because they'll have another hour of daylight trick-or-treating" according to Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan. (Quotes from CNN article )

Personally, I would feel a lot "sunnier" if our politicians focused their concerns on the sky-rocketing fuel prices I'm paying at the gas pump instead of extra daylight. Furthermore, I seriously doubt young trick-or-treaters know the difference about when it's daylight savings time and when it isn't.

MSNBC focuses on a more detailed picture of the story. A change in time equates to complication of flight schedules, reorganization of school calendars, and even prayertime for religious organizations.

Let's not miss another important detail. Changing the time effects technology. All your gadgets? Calendar software? Automatic billing? PROBLEMS. All these things were programmed with certain expectations regarding time.

Maybe when the lawmakers have to manually set their DVD recorders when the machines automatically adjust for the existing DST, they will realize an important lesson. Spend your time working to solve our country's problems. Don't add to them frivolously.